Santa Monica resident, Alan Parr, has led a life that sounds very intriguing to me. While first attending Santa Monica College to get his degree in merchandising, he later attended California State University, Northridge. During his attendance, he was drafted into the Navy.
Alan served as a Navy “Seabee,” a term used to describe someone who is a part of the United States Naval Construction Battalions. This resident would build air bases, houses, and later learn how to operate machinery in Guam.
After some time had passed in Guam, he was reassigned to Chu Lai, Vietnam, where he fought and served. He was additionally tasked with building an airstrip during the hot 110-degree nights, all while the war continued to happen around him. Alan served for four years and came back to California in 1967.
In Santa Monica, he worked with his brother, father, and grandfather in the auto dealership, Claude Short Dodge. Alan worked hard to climb his way up the career ladder. First, he would clean the cars and prepare them to be sold. From there, he became a used car salesman, used car sales manager, and finally, a new car sales manager. Alan managed the sales staff during his time at Claude Short Dodge.
When his grandfather retired, Alan became one of the principals of the business. He then found himself in charge of the new and used sales departments, as well as the service department.
All went well until the 1994 earthquake. Since the building was built in 1924, it could not withstand both the years of aging and the strength of the earthquake.
Unfortunately, six cars were ruined by the disaster and the only building left standing was the service department. With some help from architect Herb Katz, they were able to rebuild a new showroom.
In 2000, the family decided to sell the Dodge franchise to W. I. Simonson. However, Alan and his brother still wanted to work, so they opened Claude Short Auto Sales. This business venture lasted from 2001 through 2009 before Alan retired.
In his personal life, Alan is very close with his family. Once married to wife Diane in 1969, they initially lived in Tahitian Terrace in Pacific Palisades. The couple had two sons, Jeffrey and Ken, and they now share five grandchildren.
When I was shocked to learn that the entire family remained in Santa Monica, he stated, “We’re not a family that moves anywhere.”
Alan, wanting his grandchildren to remember him, supervises three of them every other week as they attend school from home through Zoom meetings.
It was in the Pacific Palisades where Alan learned of the Lions Club 48 years ago. He found himself a part of that location’s club for six years, before his father convinced him to return to his roots and attend the Santa Monica Lion’s Club. Interestingly, Alan has held every chair in the club, and is currently their co-treasurer. Parr has been an active member of the Lions Club of Santa Monica for many years now.
When I asked how he remained so diligent throughout these years, Alan humbly described, “I came from a working family.” As he continues to care for his grandchildren and play a very important role in the Santa Monica Lion’s Club, I’m sure we will be seeing and learning more about this productive and devoted Santa Monica native in the future.
By Corinne Pagan